UNESCO Chair in
interdisciplinary Biotechnology

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UNESCO Chair in interdisciplinary Biotechnology 1997/98

The Chair is associated during the academic year 1998/1999 with the Department of Biology, Laboratory of Molecular Pathology, headed by Professor Vittorio Colizzi.

More specifically, the following tasks of the Chair were defined:

  • organisation of the course on "Immunotechnology in Biology and Medicine"
  • research activities related to the fundamental interdisciplinary problems of biotechnology.
The appointment as the first chair co-holder has been given to Professor Marek Zembala, Department of Clinical Immunology, Jagiellonian University Medical College in Cracow.

Dr. E. Carnieri, Dr. M. Mattei, and Dr. P. Piselli from the group of Professor Colizzi supported the activities of the chair. Furthermore, Professor G. Lauro (Dept. of Biology, University of Rome III) and Professor A. Salerno (Dept. of Medicine, University of Palermo and Campus Biomedico) took part in the teaching activities.

The course entitled "Immunotechnology in Biology and Medicine" was open to students of the Faculties of Medicine and Science of all Universities of Rome and has been run during the second semester of the academic year 1997/98. The official language was English, with introduction and summary additionally in Italian language.

The course was designed to give updated information on the recent advances in immuno- and bio-technologies applicable to research and medicine, with particular attention to future directions. It covered the application of modern immunotechnologies in the three broad fields of cancer, inflammation and infection, and the possible outcome for diagnosis, prophylaxis and treatment of human diseases as well as biomedical and pharmaceutical research.

Detailed practical information was provided at the end of the course on the use of certain specific techniques, e.g. in the characterisation of cells by phenotyping, sorting, purging, isolation and other. The students were also provided with textbooks containing summaries of the lectures and abstracts of important points. The overall assessment of the course was positive, the choice of topics and the level of the course was judged good to excellent, and quality of teaching was assessed very favorably.

However, critics have been made by some participants judging the level to be too high, and some students complained about the difficulties in understanding details because of their limited knowledge of English. Interestingly, all students indicated the requirement for an introduction of basic immunological mechanisms as preparation for the course or at its beginning, and all of them considered the course to be useful since it gave them a better understanding of the progress in immunotechnology.